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Mushroom for Phila: Part One


by ssjelitegirl

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The sun was setting and the sky was dark red. Visitors of Mystery Island were packing their things and getting ready to leave or looking for a place to stay overnight. Shopkeepers were closing for the night and the famous beach of Mystery Island was emptying fast. But that was only the civilized part of the island.

     Far away from the shops and tourist attractions, even from the farthest Neohomes, deep in the jungle right by a small river was a single campfire and four Neopets sitting around it.

     "Saura, pass the yellow wriggly thing," a shadow Lupe said, looking up from his plate that had just ran empty. The spotted Zafara he had turned to frowned before giving him a bowl full of yellow fruit.

     "It's a Nurako, not some yellow wriggly thing," he remarked. The Lupe muttered something with his mouth full and stuck his muzzle into the fruit.

     "Good luck teaching Shad anything about the art of cooking," a fire Uni commented, reaching out for a plate of Tangella. "He may know a lot about eating but…"

     "But as long as we have Saura, I don't need to know anything about cooking," Shad grinned. "Actually I want meat. Is there any meat left over there, Ice?"

     The electric Ixi swallowed quickly. "Sorry, all up. You need to be faster." She chuckled and picked her teeth, trying to get rid of the last pieces of meat. Shad glared at her.

     "You're an Ixi! You're supposed to be a grass-eater!"

     "Says who?" Ice grabbed the Tangella plate. "I'm used to eating what I get. The pound taught me that." Ice's full name was IcyAngel10 but she refused to react to that, especially to the "10" part - and as a matter of fact, to the "angel" part too. She was the oldest of her family and adopted like most of her siblings. Cheerful, energetic and still not fully recovered from the wounds of her past.

     "We've been on the road for two days now," the fire Uni remarked. Her name was AoiKatana but most people called her Kat. "So far so good but I think it'll take a long time before we get to the lost city of Geraptiku."

     The others nodded with a frown. The only reason why they were sitting in that jungle was their little sister, Philoxia the Aisha. She had caught an unknown illness a few days ago and the Neopian Hospital had no idea what it was or how it could be cured. They had said that the only thing they could do was wait, but Huntress, her owner, didn't give up that easily. And then the decision was made, two days ago in a Neohome's kitchen…

     …Kat entered the kitchen with a concerned frown. Her siblings looked up, worried and nervous.

     "Well, Kat?" the electric Ixi asked with a frown. The Uni shook her head.

     "She's asleep but the fever is still ominous. Tsuki, have you found anything yet?"

     Tsuki was a shadow Shoyru with several golden rings around his paws. He was sitting behind the table with a huge dusty tome in front of him and he had been the only one who hadn't looked up as Kat came in. Now he glanced at the Uni and frowned.

     "I'm reading as fast as I can and I know it's in that tome, so be patient, will you? Let me concentrate."

     The Uni sat down on the floor, spreading out her front legs like a sphinx. "That illness struck so suddenly… where on Neopia could she have gotten that?"

     "Hey, we live on Mystery Island, you can't just expect that there are no exotic and almost unknown illnesses around here," Ice replied.

          "That kid runs around on the fields too often," Shad remarked. "You know how she lives. Always lost somewhere in the woods, sometimes gets home late at night - no wonder some evil bug of whatever it may have been bit her."

     "Now there's the right accuser," Ice commented with a grin. "How often did you run around at night with Cryo, digging up someone's Sardplants, eh?"

     "Hey-hey-hey, don't start blaming me here!" a Jubjub called Cryolien shouted from the corner. "I only went with Shad when the lab ray had zapped me into something with paws. Besides, you know that we aren't allowed to lurk outside alone at night."

     "Tsuki always lurks outside alone at night," Shad the Lupe snorted. "I'm telling you, if that's what you call a fair deal…"

     "Shaddup, all of you." Saurani had finished washing the dishes and now turned around. "It doesn't matter how she got it. Tsuki needs to find the cure and then we'll nurse Phila back to health."

     The others nodded with concern and glanced at Tsuki. The Shoyru had ignored the argument and was still flipping the pages. Suddenly his paw stopped on a page and he leaned closer to the book. Everyone stared at him.

     "There is a cure," he finally said. "A little mushroom that grows deep in the jungle."

     "Typical," Ice commented. "Every time there's a rare illness even the Neopian Hospital hasn't heard of, there's only one cure and that always grows somewhere in the deep jungle."

     "Could've been worse," Saurani replied, went to the table and looked at the page. "At least the mushroom doesn't grow underwater or on the other side of Neopia. Do you know where exactly to find it?"

     "According to the legend the mushroom only grows near the lost city of Geraptiku," Tsuki read down from the book. "Uh, we may have a problem here. Nobody knows for sure where that lost city is."

     "I do," Ice said. Everyone turned to stare at her. The Ixi grinned at them.

     "Been there, done that. You know that I hang around a lot. The lost city may be hard to find but I more or less know where to search. So, we only need to find the mushroom and Phila will be fine?"

     "Well, there's a recipe for a soup Phila needs to eat in order to recover," Tsuki replied, "but all other ingredients are easy to find. Though… hrmph, the recipe itself seems a bit complicated. Could you handle that, Saura?"

     The Zafara looked at the old yellowish page. "If you translate that text for me, I couldn't read anything out from here in a thousand years."

     Tsuki grinned. "Not a problem. Of course, the tome itself is about three hundred years old and some terms may be aged but I'll do my best. But first of all, someone has to go and fetch that shroom."

     Cryolien got up. "Count me out. I can't possibly toddle through the jungle while being a Jubjub. I'll rather stay here and help Huntress nurse Phila." He left the kitchen.

     "I'll go," Kat said and got up from the floor too. "And so will you, Ice, you know the way. Tsuki, you're the mage of the family, we may need your spells and knowledge."

     Saura and Shad looked at each other.

     "We're coming too," they announced at the same time.

     "This won't be a walk down a meadow and back," Ice warned them all. "It may take days."

     "Then you'll need me one way or another as I'm the only one in this gang who knows how to cook," Saura replied. "You'll starve in the jungle without me."

     Ice grinned. "So we're settled. Ice the pathfinder, Kat the fighter, Tsuki the mage, Saura the cook and Shad the annoying little Lupe who doesn't do anything useful but who can't be convinced to stay behind either. Let's go and tell Huntress that we're going." She trotted to the other room, ignoring Shad's annoyed glare.

     Huntress frowned when she heard of their plan but since she could understand very well that the mushroom was Phila's only chance, she just nodded. "Take enough fresh water with you," she said, "and Kat, keep an eye on any possible dangers. Saura, you know all the edible and poisonous plants, right?" The Zafara nodded. "Nice. Good luck then. I'll keep an eye on your petpets while you're gone."

     "I'll take Ace with me," Saura replied, bowing down and taking a Wuzzle from under the chair. "I need fire to cook the food on, you know. Well then, wish us luck."

     Huntress muttered something that sounded like, "Uh uh, hurry up," and the five pets plus a Wuzzle left the house, starting a long journey up the hill. Now the journey had lasted for two days and so far there hadn't been any big problems on the way. Saura found edible plants everywhere, Tsuki was able to purify the water with an easy spell and they had taken a lot of meat with them. But there was still a long way to go.

     "Where's Tsuki?" Kat asked, looking around. "He has been gone for a while now."

     "Just checking the path," a voice said behind her back. The Uni squeaked and turned around quickly, staring at the Shoyru's deep blue eyes.

     "Don't do that!" she hissed.

     Tsuki stepped into the light. "Guys, we may have a problem. I flew a few miles ahead and there's a small plain with dozens of dark faeries flying around there. I can't imagine them being too helpful with our quest and you know how good the Faeries are with distracting. They may be able to make us get lost in the forest forever."

     "And I suppose that there's no detour," Shad grunted, gnawing on the last pieces of Nurako. "Then we'll just have to blast right through them."

     "Words of the simple-minded one," Saura commented philosophically. The Lupe glared at him.

     "I'd love to see you do better…!"

     "Let's hit the hay and worry about the faeries in the morning," Kat suggested with a yawn. "It's late. We need our strength tomorrow. Stop quarreling and try to get some sleep."

     The others nodded, curled up around the campfire and fell asleep quickly. They were tired of the long journey. Only Tsuki the Shoyru sat by the fading fire for a couple of hours, looking at the full moon. He was usually up at night and slept in the daytime. But now he had to travel in daytime to find the cure for his little sister, so after a while he curled up, too. Now only the quiet purr of the river was to be heard.

To be continued...

 
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